Staff

 

chris-picture-websiteChris Alin
Director of Operations
chris@nestseattle.org

Born and raised in the Emerald City, Chris is a true Seattleite – a rarity these days. A graduate of the University of Washington, Chris has a wealth of experience in coordinating, planning, and managing people and programs throughout diverse fields, most recently her passion working with elders in the senior living industry. In her spare time, you will find Chris being a busy mom to two active boys and a crazy sweet dog. She enjoys health and fitness, cooking, and spending quality time with her family in Wallingford.

Jessica McKeirnanJessica McKeirnan
Communications & Development Manager
jessica@nestseattle.org

After moving to Seattle from Eastern Washington in 2015, Jessica had fun exploring the unique feel of each Seattle neighborhood before making her home in Roosevelt. During her time as an English and Creative Writing major at Seattle University, she developed a passion for community engagement and communication. Jessica enjoys using these skills to help NEST members stay up to date with events and doing outreach in the community to secure grants. When she isn’t at home playing with her two adorable cats and knitting or crocheting something warm and soft, she can be found honing her self-defense skills at Krav Maga Seattle.

Laura HitchcockLaura Hitchcock
Director of Development
laura@nestseattle.org

Laura joins NEST as the new part-time Director of Development from a long career with nonprofit and public sector organizations. She loves helping organizations act as champions for their work, and sees NEST as a crucial community link for our growing older population. She is also a native of and long-time resident of NE Seattle, with deep ties to our community. A lawyer and systems thinker by training, she has worked for over 25 years with organizations to make them stronger and more sustainable in order to be able to achieve their visions and goals, including creative strategies to increase dependable revenues. She recently served as interim CEO of a statewide education advocacy organization, and in the past has worked with local governments and United Way where she implemented a range of revenue strategies. In her non-NEST time she also consults with other nonprofits through Jan Glick & Associates. Outside of work, she loves music and is reviving her passion for piano playing and dabbling in musical theater roles, and enjoys the outdoors and being with her family, including her two college students and recently a high school exchange student from Montenegro.

Board of Directors

 

Don DesonierDon Desonier
Board President

Don provides individual coaching, along with family facilitation services, to caregivers and families of loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. His journey to this professional calling and passion for this work is rooted in having been a caregiver to his wife Nancy, who was diagnosed with early-onset dementia in 2008, and passed away from this illness in 2012.

Don has a Certificate in Gerontology from the University of Washington Professional and Continuing Education Program. He also has a Juris Doctor degree, and has been trained as an Elder and Adult Family Mediator. Don, who is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®, is passionate in supporting NEST in its efforts in transforming and enriching the lives of older adults by providing them choices for staying active, independent, engaged and connected. He is thrilled and humbled to be NEST’s current Board President.

 

Elise ErnstElise Ernst
Board Vice President
Elise has worked as a schoolteacher, clinical social worker, and healthcare administrator for the past 50+ years. She recently retired after serving for 12 years as Vice President of Practice Management at The Polyclinic. During that time, she learned an immense amount about healthcare for seniors, namely what it takes from both patients and providers for the partnership to be successful. She also lead initiatives to improve efficiencies in healthcare, along with starting a Behavioral Health Department that is thriving today. Seniors made up a large number of patients referred by their providers for help coping with loneliness and depression.

In 2014, Elise’s mother died at age 97, after struggling with dementia and living in assisted living in Arizona for over 3 years. During that time she saw firsthand the toll that not being able to live at home takes on all involved, and she hopes to be able to bring that experience to NEST. She’s excited to be able to contribute to a nonprofit organization that is still growing and learning how to serve their community of senior citizens. She has served on several other boards in the past, including The Gage Art Academy.

Elise lives with her husband of 35 years, Mike Smith (a retired advocacy attorney for people with disabilities), in a houseboat on Lake Union. Their son, David Smith, grew up loving the water as well. He is a competitive rower and made the US Team 5 times, and he is currently starting a new career of being a full-time watercolor artist. Elise loves to row, cross-country ski, play piano, and quilt. She is learning how to play bridge, which is quite the challenge.

Marilyn SpotswoodMarilyn Spotswood
Board Secretary
Marilyn has over 20 years of experience in healthcare services, with a particular focus on collaborative models of care targeted to older adults. She has a MSW and a PhD in Health Services Research. Marilyn worked with the Virginia Long-Term Care Council on the design and implementation of a statewide case management program. She conducted research and managed practice sites for the Geriatric Evaluation and Management Program at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. Marilyn also worked for many years as a project manager in the software industry. While staying at home to raise her two kids, she devoted herself to volunteering at her kids’ schools and with older adults in the community. She is thrilled to be part of the Board and hopes to use her research and project management skills to support NEST as it continues to grow. Marilyn and her family have lived in Ravenna for 15 years.

Michael SchaedigMichael Schaedig
Board Treasurer
A lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest (and current resident of the Ravenna/Maple Leaf neighborhood), Michael has spent his career in the Senior Housing industry. With the vast majority of people aging in their own homes, and strongly expressing a desire to stay there, Michael believes that initiatives like NEST are a vitally important way to expand the reach of services to those that might otherwise remain isolated in their homes. Providing a strong social and service network has benefits that go far beyond the health and wellness of individuals and serve to enrich the entire community in which we live. Serving the community in which he lives, and helping shape how these services are identified and delivered is something that holds great interest for Michael, and is just one of the reasons he’s delighted to be a part of the NEST board.

Rosemary BlakemoreRosemary Blakemore
Rosemary has been an active participant in NEST since its founding. With a background in social work, Rosemary most recently worked as Director of Resident Relations at the Kenney Continuing Care Retirement Community, where among other programs she created a “positive aging” series that won a Best Practices Award from the American Society on Aging. She has also been a medical social worker, community home health coordinator, and a caseworker for the state. She has lived in the same Viewridge home for almost 42 years, and is active at University Christian Church where she has been a member since 1957. Rosemary was recently widowed after a 41-year marriage. She enjoys spending time with her 4 step-children, 6 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.

Steve CampSteve Camp
Steve has been a NEST Builder since 2016, when he became actively engaged in helping NEST find a permanent home. He brought to that search a background in commercial property management in downtown Seattle, and many contacts made while serving as President of the Seattle/King County Building Owners and Property Managers Association. He is very pleased that the effort of many resulted in the very central location at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church, with it’s great meeting spaces and easy access.

Since retirement from the front office of the Seattle Mariners, Steve has engaged with several non-profit organizations, serving presently as VP of the Lifetime Learning Center in Lake City, and as President of the 5th Avenue Theatre Foundation.

 

Nancy NordquistNancy Nordquist
Nancy is an active NEST member and volunteer. NEST was a meaningful discovery for her in April 2016. Nancy’s mother lived to be 98 with Alzheimer’s and she understands what it is like for families to struggle to find with the right care and resources. Nancy is recently retired from educational publishing, and is looking forward to enthusiastically supporting the growth and successful future of NEST and all of our members.

Leslie PhillipsLeslie Phillips
Leslie Phillips, PhD, is an epidemiologist who brings a health & safety lens to the NEST Board. She also serves as a Research Director at the SEIU 775 Benefits Group. Leslie received her Master’s in Health and Social Behavior from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and her doctorate from the University of Washington. Leslie is not new to NEST or the NEST Board, sitting on the Board back in 2011 as NEST transitions from an idea to a reality. She is delighted to return to a thriving NEST. After twenty years in Seattle, she feels she has seen it all, including the terror that comes from the Seattle Freeze, the Seattle Squeeze, and most recently the Seattle Sneeze.

Beryl Schulman
Beryl began as a volunteer with NEST and currently chairs the Program Committee, where she enjoys planning Nestcafés, first Wednesday lunches/dinners and other events. Originally from Long Island, Beryl has lived in NE Seattle for over 30 years.

After completing her MSW and PhD degrees in social work and community psychology, Beryl served on the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Public Health and on the faculty of the University of Washington School of Social Work, before leaving academia to manage Consumer Relations at Group Health Cooperative in Seattle. Since returning to UW, Beryl has worked on a range of research projects related to healthy aging, addiction treatment alternatives, opioid prescribing interventions, medical care for injured workers, emergency communication with limited English proficiency communities, and health impacts of climate change.

Passionate about protecting consumer rights and promoting active lifestyles, Beryl has pursued these interests in both her professional and volunteer work. She has worked with a variety of other local, non-profit organizations, and currently serves as vice-president on Seattle’s Lifelong Recreation Advisory Council.